Myth: Copyright Theft, Apple Stole GUI from Xerox PARC Alto

Friday, March 5, 2010
By OP Editor

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GUI Theft Myth Variations

There are many variations on the “Steve Jobs stole the GUI concept from XEROX PARC” myth. These are actual quotes seen around the web:

Myth: “Apple was copying the GUI design and mouse after seeing it in action at Xerox, several years before it actually paid Xerox for the Alto GUI design. Doesn’t really sound like Xerox let Apple copy it to me!” (False)

Myth: “Everybody stole from everybody. Apple being the first who stole from Xerox.” (False)

Myth: “EVERYONE stole the mouse/GUI from Xerox – Apple, Amiga, IBM OS/2, and Windows.” (False)

Myth: “It was the Star computer that Xerox created with the GUI that Steve Jobs lifted.” (False)

Fact:
All of these variations are false, as Apple received permission from Xerox PARC and compensated them for the access to the internal PARC Alto GUI prototype.

Note that the Xerox Star Workstation (Xerox 8010 Information System) was introduced in 1981, two years after the Apple visit and one year after Apple IPO, which Xerox benefited from.

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Tags: Analysis, Apple, Legal, Myths, Prototype, Technology

12 Responses to “Myth: Copyright Theft, Apple Stole GUI from Xerox PARC Alto”

  1. Dave52

    “Did Apple Stole Xerox PARC GUI Intellectual Property Without Permission?”

    1. By definition, all stealing is without permission, else it wouldn’t be stealing.

    2. “Did Apple Stole”: Grammar checker, anyone?

    1
  2. prak

    Dude, this is a great little bit of de-bunking, but your atrocious composition and grammar mean that I can’t send anyone here. They won’t believe anything written so poorly could be credible!

    Do you need some assistance working out the kinks in your writing?

    2
  3. bazjapan

    So can we say Apple copied the ideas already in place at xerox then going on to later refine them? Seems like a normal process to me. Why are we apple users so brainwashed into thinking that Jobs et al were/are somehow above all. That they are God like and free of any wrong doing. That their ideas are exclusive and if they are not their own, they really should be credited with them anyway. In my opinion, Apple have become a fairly ruthless bunch that support open standards when it suits and generally speak in ‘double speak’. That said they do make cool stuff, but so do other companies! Thanks

    3
  4. Monarky

    Oh…. I see! You’ve got a hidden agenda to keep the truth off this site! Very Lame and you’ll lose with your mis-information in the end!!!

    4
    • Let’s see. References include New York Times, Motley fool. So sure, information from those sites are completely wrong. Not.

      Or perhaps someone cannot handle the truth?

      4.1
  5. brrry

    copying with or without consent doesn’t change anything.
    still not apples invention.

    5
  6. brrry

    Did Apple steal the idea?
    No
    Did Apple copy the idea?
    Yes
    Yes, Apple Paid for the rights to use it but it does not mean they invented it.

    6
    • Apple did invent various aspects of the modern GUI, as explained in the article such as “drag and drop”.

      One thing that Apple does well is bringing abstract concepts and technology to the masses.

      6.1

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